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Sixth-grade teacher inspired passion for history

By BY BREANNA MUTSCHLER
Nov. 12, 2012 at 5:12 a.m.

Breanna Mutschler

After reading a recent article in the Victoria Advocate about mentors, I found myself looking back to the influential people in my life. Many of them helped get me to the point I am now, but one stood out above the rest.

As kids, we are always asked what we want to do, who we want to be when we grow up. Some of us chose doctors, teachers or engineers, while others went much farther and said that they wanted to be movie stars or president of the United States. I, like so many others, said that I wanted to be a doctor, but by the time I reached high school, my sights were set on pursuing something entirely different than a medical degree.

As a child, I loved to learn about the past. I watched shows on the History Channel with my dad and got into arguments over who won World War II. I soon realized that maybe being a historian was the way to go, and by the time I finished middle school, I had made my decision.

One of the people who motivated me and gave me the urge to study the past was my sixth-grade history teacher, Mrs. Monroe-Porter. No one knew what to expect from her. Nonetheless, when Mrs. Monroe-Porter, or "Mrs. MP," as some liked to call her, walked in the class for the first time, I could get a sense that I was going to like her, and in the end, I did. To this day, I don't know what gave me that feeling, but I could somehow feel it in the air.

Over the rest of the school year, the class played games and learned about various cultures from around the world. My favorite, by far, was the game that involved selling and buying oil as members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC. Whenever I got to school, I could not wait to get to her class just so I could sell more oil. I can't remember how much oil my partner and I bought or sold, but I do remember that it was a quite a number of barrels.

As the school year began to wind down, I pondered my future. I recalled the fun times I had in Mrs. Monroe-Porter's class and came to the conclusion that maybe history was my calling.

As I get ready to graduate this coming spring with a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities-History, I find myself looking back into my past, looking back to the days spent in a classroom with no windows playing the OPEC game. If not for Mrs. Monroe-Porter and her world cultures class, I don't know where I would be today. I have had a few more excellent history teachers between sixth grade and now, but I don't know if they would have given me that aspiration to study the "olden days" like Mrs. Monroe-Porter did.

So, wherever you are, thank you, Mrs. Monroe-Porter, for motivating me to have a thirst for history. With the energy and the thirst you instilled in me, I now have the desire to pursue a history career and learn about the world's past.

Breanna Mutschler is a senior at the University of Houston-Victoria. She is currently studying history and will graduate next spring. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school to receive a master's in publishing or history. Then, she plans to teach or become a national park ranger somewhere. She also plans to be a freelance writer for various outdoor or travel magazines.

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